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Old 2015-07-28, 15:30   #1508
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Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
My support of defining marriage as the union of a man and a women does not mean that I believe same-sex couples should be denied the liberty to enter contractual relationships, equivalent in the relevant ways, to marriages. Indeed, I support civil unions, as you yourself seemed to recall in your post.

But I also support the liberty to distinguish between the two arrangements when that is relevant. For instance, one significant difference between them is that one arrangement has the ability to create children by accident, while the other does not. This, among other reasons, has led to the formation of common-law marriage laws. But common-law marriage makes little-to-no sense in the realm of same-sex roommates.
I observe that rape and adultery occur in heterosexual marriages, sometimes resulting in accidental pregnancy. I see no reason why homosexual couples should be any different in this respect.

So, as I understand your position the words "marriage" and "civil partnership" are to be regarded as completely equivalent in law provided that the word "marriage" is only ever used of male/female couples and the phrase "civil partnership" is only ever used of same-sex couples. In the end, the entire issue comes down to one of terminology?

I could certainly live with such an understanding. Brian et al. can doubtless express agreement or disagreement.
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Old 2015-07-28, 20:21   #1509
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I observe that rape and adultery occur in heterosexual marriages, sometimes resulting in accidental pregnancy. I see no reason why homosexual couples should be any different in this respect.

So, as I understand your position the words "marriage" and "civil partnership" are to be regarded as completely equivalent in law provided that the word "marriage" is only ever used of male/female couples and the phrase "civil partnership" is only ever used of same-sex couples. In the end, the entire issue comes down to one of terminology?

I could certainly live with such an understanding. Brian et al. can doubtless express agreement or disagreement.
You could live with it, but would you find it ideal? I'm pretty sure that you, as someone who has shown great inventiveness with language so many times here on mersenneforum.org, will also appreciate the power which terminology has to shape people's attitudes. If different terminology is used depending on whether the partners are same sex or opposite sex, then the institution of marriage/civil partnership will be seen as two separate entities. One will be elevated over the other in the public psyche as the ideal (I wonder which one will achieve that...).

Apartheid based on who we love is no more justifiable than apartheid based on our skin colour.

BTW I appreciate your attempt to look for common ground with Zeta-Flux. If there exists any way forward in the debate, yours will be it.
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Old 2015-07-29, 00:46   #1510
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I observe that rape and adultery occur in heterosexual marriages, sometimes resulting in accidental pregnancy. I see no reason why homosexual couples should be any different in this respect.
I'm not sure I understand your point here. Could you explain what you mean, and how you think this ties into what I said? (As I understand it, common-law marriage has little-to-nothing to do with rape/adultery... I just seem to be missing what you are trying to convey.)

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So, as I understand your position the words "marriage" and "civil partnership" are to be regarded as completely equivalent in law provided that the word "marriage" is only ever used of male/female couples and the phrase "civil partnership" is only ever used of same-sex couples. In the end, the entire issue comes down to one of terminology?
Yes, the institutions of "marriage" and "civil partnership" should be understood as referring to opposite-gender partnering vs. same-sex partnering. No, to the rest. They should be equivalent in terms of those things where they are equivalent (partnerships of two adults, choosing to share finances, support one another, etc...) and not equivalent where they naturally differ (composed of two genders vs. same genders, naturally able to create genetic children, etc...). As I explained, this differentiation allows us to make rational laws which are geared towards those things which only opposite-gender pairing can accomplish, and vice-versa.

If it helps, think of the words "male" and "female" as used in the law. These classes should be treated equivalently in some things, but not necessarily in others. [But I suppose some will think I'm just justifying sex-apartheid. :-p]

Last fiddled with by Zeta-Flux on 2015-07-29 at 00:51
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Old 2015-07-29, 07:52   #1511
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I'm not sure I understand your point here. Could you explain what you mean, and how you think this ties into what I said? (As I understand it, common-law marriage has little-to-nothing to do with rape/adultery... I just seem to be missing what you are trying to convey.)
Unimportant and I shouldn't have raised it. I was merely trying to indicate that unplanned (accidental in your word) pregnancy can happen in gay marriages too.
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Yes, the institutions of "marriage" and "civil partnership" should be understood as referring to opposite-gender partnering vs. same-sex partnering. No, to the rest. They should be equivalent in terms of those things where they are equivalent (partnerships of two adults, choosing to share finances, support one another, etc...) and not equivalent where they naturally differ (composed of two genders vs. same genders, naturally able to create genetic children, etc...). As I explained, this differentiation allows us to make rational laws which are geared towards those things which only opposite-gender pairing can accomplish, and vice-versa.

If it helps, think of the words "male" and "female" as used in the law. These classes should be treated equivalently in some things, but not necessarily in others. [But I suppose some will think I'm just justifying sex-apartheid. :-p]
Could you give specific examples, please, where the law ought to forbid (or compell) civil partners particular actions or situations where married couples should be permitted (or forbidden) the same. Other than calling themselves "married" or "in a civil partnership" of course.
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Old 2015-07-29, 08:10   #1512
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You could live with it, but would you find it ideal? I'm pretty sure that you, as someone who has shown great inventiveness with language so many times here on mersenneforum.org, will also appreciate the power which terminology has to shape people's attitudes. If different terminology is used depending on whether the partners are same sex or opposite sex, then the institution of marriage/civil partnership will be seen as two separate entities. One will be elevated over the other in the public psyche as the ideal (I wonder which one will achieve that...).

Apartheid based on who we love is no more justifiable than apartheid based on our skin colour.

BTW I appreciate your attempt to look for common ground with Zeta-Flux. If there exists any way forward in the debate, yours will be it.
I'm quite happy to be called "male white Caucasian"* and, for instance, Winnie Mandela to be called "female black African", even though we are both people. I make no value judgement on the relative worth of two people based on such descriptions. Accordingly, I'm in full agreement with your second paragraph.

To me "husband" is a married man. It says nothing whatsoever about to whom he is married. Similarly, English distinguishes between niece and nephew, aunt and uncle, but not male cousin and female cousin. Brother-in-law is profoundly ambiguous: is he a brother of a spouse or the husband of a sibling? (Note the use of sibling and spouse as sex-independent nouns.)

Let us also examine the word "apartheid", its etymology and its meaning. Etymologically it is Dutch for "separateness". In its common meaning, it meant, and still means, legally enforced separation of different races but has since expanded in meaning to include the legally (but implied unjustly) enforced separation of other groups which differ from each other in at least one characteristic. I was very careful to state '"marriage" and "civil partnership" are to be regarded as completely equivalent in law' specifically to avoid its characterization as apartheid.

One of the great features of the English language is the plethora of synonyms and I delight in using them for variety, education and rhetorical effect.

Paul

* Though it has been a very long time since my ancestors lived anywhere near the Caucasus.

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2015-07-29 at 08:26
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Old 2015-07-29, 09:42   #1513
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I'm quite happy to be called "male white Caucasian"* and, for instance, Winnie Mandela to be called "female black African", even though we are both people. I make no value judgement on the relative worth of two people based on such descriptions. Accordingly, I'm in full agreement with your second paragraph.

To me "husband" is a married man. It says nothing whatsoever about to whom he is married. Similarly, English distinguishes between niece and nephew, aunt and uncle, but not male cousin and female cousin. Brother-in-law is profoundly ambiguous: is he a brother of a spouse or the husband of a sibling? (Note the use of sibling and spouse as sex-independent nouns.)

Let us also examine the word "apartheid", its etymology and its meaning. Etymologically it is Dutch for "separateness". In its common meaning, it meant, and still means, legally enforced separation of different races but has since expanded in meaning to include the legally (but implied unjustly) enforced separation of other groups which differ from each other in at least one characteristic. I was very careful to state '"marriage" and "civil partnership" are to be regarded as completely equivalent in law' specifically to avoid its characterization as apartheid.

One of the great features of the English language is the plethora of synonyms and I delight in using them for variety, education and rhetorical effect.

Paul

* Though it has been a very long time since my ancestors lived anywhere near the Caucasus.
All of this demonstrates your own ability to extract the precise meaning of phrases in the language and to judge humans and human societal constructions on the basis of who or what they are, not what they are called. And if everyone had your ability to do this, there would be no problem.

Unfortunately, that last stated condition is far removed from reality.
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Old 2015-07-29, 11:15   #1514
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All of this demonstrates your own ability to extract the precise meaning of phrases in the language and to judge humans and human societal constructions on the basis of who or what they are, not what they are called. And if everyone had your ability to do this, there would be no problem.

Unfortunately, that last stated condition is far removed from reality.
Yet I am far from perfect in making those judgements.

I am also a big believer in the admonition: The perfect is the enemy of the good, or in MSFT's version, Ship it when it's good enough --- perfection can wait for a subsequent update.

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2015-07-29 at 11:16 Reason: Italicize
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Old 2015-07-29, 11:22   #1515
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Could you give specific examples, please, where the law ought to forbid (or compell) civil partners particular actions or situations where married couples should be permitted (or forbidden) the same. Other than calling themselves "married" or "in a civil partnership" of course.
I can think of at least one specific example but I won't reveal it until you've had a good opportunity to present your position on this matter.

To establish priority and head-off any suggestion that I'm quite dogmatic on the issue of marriage, I'll PM Brian-E with my example. Either he or I can reveal it when the time is right in our independent judgement.
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Old 2015-07-29, 15:06   #1516
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I was merely trying to indicate that unplanned (accidental in your word) pregnancy can happen in gay marriages too.
But not between the partners, as you well know, which is what I was talking about. (The point being that opposite-sex partners have accidental children quite often.)

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Could you give specific examples, please, where the law ought to forbid (or compell) civil partners particular actions or situations where married couples should be permitted (or forbidden) the same. Other than calling themselves "married" or "in a civil partnership" of course.
Sure. Society might want to encourage more childbearing between married couples. So they might offer incentives to married couples which they wouldn't offer to civil partnerships. (To be overly clear, this is not to say they couldn't also offer alternate incentives for adoptees, which would apply to both types of unions, and possibly single parents as well.)

I already mentioned common-law marriage, where it makes sense for society to automatically join opposite-sex long-term cohabitators into a marriage relationship, but not same-sex roommates.

Society might also decide that they are overpopulated, and so give extra incentives for people to form civil unions (to sway the "bi-sexual" crowd).

There are a number of other possibilities.

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Old 2015-07-29, 17:41   #1517
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I see potential progress on a contentious discussion and I primarily hold back my own thoughts except for one thing:

To me "civil unions" reads like "colored only" water fountains. At no point in the discussion is any suggestion that it would be desirable to anyone who likes its secular nature or for any other reason; it is a "colored only" trough.

Last fiddled with by only_human on 2015-07-29 at 18:26 Reason: s/too/to/
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Old 2015-07-29, 18:17   #1518
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Sure. Society might want to encourage more childbearing between married couples. So they might offer incentives to married couples which they wouldn't offer to civil partnerships. (To be overly clear, this is not to say they couldn't also offer alternate incentives for adoptees, which would apply to both types of unions, and possibly single parents as well.)

[Elided for separate discussion below]

Society might also decide that they are overpopulated, and so give extra incentives for people to form civil unions (to sway the "bi-sexual" crowd).
Indeed. That's a good point, and not one I'd considered so far. AFAICT, your two proposals are not equivalent but complementary so, in that respect, are equally {dis,}advantageous to each group.

My personal view is that society is more likely in the short and medium term to discourage additional procreation rather than to encourage it. Certainly, the evidence of the last couple of centuries supports my claim in that as infant mortality has fallen and women's economic status has risen the number of children created by women has fallen --- to below replacement rates in some societies. Society, as opposed to legal codes, appears to have made (its largely unconscious) decision.

If my personal view is wrong I see no reason why civil partners should not bear children by gamete donation (FF only right now. MM is technically possible* but, at present, the risks to father and child are so great as to be ethically unacceptable) or by surrogacy (which is available already to both FF and MM couples).
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There are a number of other possibilities.
Such as? One of them is the subject of the PM I sent to Brian-E.
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I already mentioned common-law marriage, where it makes sense for society to automatically join opposite-sex long-term cohabitators into a marriage relationship, but not same-sex roommates.
There we face the possibility of talking at cross-porpoises because where I live the term "common-law marriage" has no legal significance whatsoever. In UK law there is no difference between a man and a woman in a sexual relationship, however closely linked by other ties, and any other two people in a similar relationship whether sexual or not. Moderately often articles appear in the press and other such outlets reminding couples that unless they make explicit in their wills that their partners will not receive any special treatment on the death of the first party.

* I can go into details on request.
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